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Margate Travel Information

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History of Margate

History of Margate, South Africa.


Trunko, aka the Margate Monster, made his appearance at Margate way back in November of 1922, back when Margate was still a small, little-known town.

Trunko, a 14 metre long marine creature, was described by the Daily Mail of London as being a “Fish Like a Polar Bear”. Reports state that its fish-like body seemed to have no head, but rather a 1.5 metre long trunk coming straight from his torso and a long, lobster-like tail. His body was covered in 20cm long white hairs.

On November 1, 1922 two whales were spotted fighting with this creature off the coast of Margate Beach.

A handful of eyewitnesses, including Hugh Ballance, the land owner of Margate, stood mesmerised by the spectacle that continued for 3 hours, resulting in the death of the mysterious creature.

The corpse washed up on the beach later that day. Unfortunately, no pictures of it have ever been published and in the 10 days it lay on the beach before being washed away by the sea, no official scientific investigations were undertaken.

There are many theories as to the identity of the creature. Some believe that Trunko is a new, unidentified species of aquatic elephant. Others reason that it was just the decomposed remains of a whale or other large sea creature, a phenomenon referred to as “globsters”.

Similar carcasses were reported in Australia in the 1880s and there are legends of an elephant-fish that lives in the Indian Ocean called the Makara…

No sightings of Trunko-like creatures have been reported since the 1922 sighting.

Also read about the history of Port Shepstone and the Mzimkulu River.